Five Scientists Awarded HA Grants for Their Bold and Innovative Work

These brilliant scientists are expanding our knowledge on hydrocephalus.

There is a lot we do not know about how hydrocephalus develops and how to best treat the condition across our many communities. Our 2021 Innovator Award recipients are looking to change that by exploring new ideas about why hydrocephalus develops and testing new treatments to improve long term outcomes.

Dr. Bonnie Blazer-Yost, Professor of Biology at Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis, will explore whether targeting inhibitors of SGK1, which is a protein that has been implicated in a variety of pathways related to hydrocephalus pathophysiology, is a feasible treatment for hydrocephalus. This study will hopefully lead to the production of a clinically relevant pharmaceutical treatment. Dr. Blazer-Yost’s research is supported by Team Hydro.

Dr. Justin Cetas, Department Chair of Neurosurgery at the University of Arizona, will examine a potential new mechanism for Post-Hemorrhagic Hydrocephalus (PHH), exploring the role of certain byproducts present after ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke to hopefully aid in the development of new therapeutic targets for hydrocephalus.

Dr. Joanne Conover, Professor at the University of Connecticut, will investigate the role of the inflammatory response in Post-Infectious Hydrocephalus (PIH). This research will hopefully lead to the identification of PIH biomarkers, which can in turn help in the development of therapeutics. Dr. Conover’s research is funded through the Rudi Schulte Research Institute.

Dr. Sheng Chih (Peter) Jin, Assistant Professor at the Washington University School of Medicine, will use whole genome sequencing to identify potential novel genomic elements which may contribute to the development of congenital hydrocephalus (CH). This research could lend to more comprehensive diagnoses of CH as well as inform the development of therapeutic targets.

Dr. Mats Tullberg, Professor & Senior Consultant of Neurology at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, will aim to better quantify gait disturbances in idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (iNPH) using 3D gait analysis. This study will hopefully lead to better diagnostic criteria for NPH as well as clearer outcome measures to determine treatment efficacy.

These scientists are expanding our knowledge about the causes of hydrocephalus and working to develop new treatments that could impact our entire community, from infants with posthemorrhagic hydrocephalus to older adults with NPH.

The Innovator Award is designed to provide seed funding for bold and innovative research with the potential to transform hydrocephalus research. Emphasis is placed on innovation and potential impact of the project on hydrocephalus research and clinical outcomes. Innovator Awards are for one year of support at a $25,000 or $50,000 level. These awards further the Hydrocephalus Association’s mission to find a cure for hydrocephalus and improve the lives of those impacted by the condition.

Funding for the 2021 Innovator Awards was made possible through the support of the Posthemorrhagic Hydrocephalus Campaign and individual donations.